food & recipes

Today was my first full day back in Minnesota and it was full of family…and cookies. We baked spritz, sugar cookies, russian tea cakes, peanut-butter cup cookies, peanut-butter reindeer cookies, chocolate crinkles, almond bars, and snickerdoodles.

Definitely a successful day of baking! And I didn’t mind the snow either…it went well with the baking and Christmas music, and I think I can handle a little cold after 5 months of tropical weather.

Here is the product of all of our hard work!

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The chocolate crinkles are my favorite 🙂


Today, I’m buckling down. Believe it or not (I can’t), tomorrow is the last day of my semester!

Meaning: it is my last day attending school in Venezuela AND I will only have one semester left of college. AH!

Other meaning: I will be drinking too much coffee today.

I have 3 final essays to hand in tomorrow and I’m almost done with all of them, minus the rigorous editing process (which sometimes results in me basically re-arranging my whole paper). But we’ll see. Being a perfectionist might come in handy when I get my grades in a couple of weeks.

I’m somehow justifying this blog post by reassuring myself that writing clears my head, after all, I only have 4 days left to blog from Venezuela! But I can only convince myself that this is productive for so long 🙂

So before I go, here’s the recipe of the day (yes, I might have been browsing recipes too…don’t judge me.)

Red wine-braised short ribs over goat cheese mashed potatoes, the perfect winter meal.

It’s probably time to get back to my essays, wish me luck!

Dulce de higo, or candied figs, are a traditional Christmas treat in Venezuela.

They are whole figs cooked in water and tons of sugar until the liquid thickens into a syrup. We tried them after our dinner tonight and they tasted just like I thought they would.

 A simple, delicious and very sweet dessert!

It was another early 6:00 am morning. After getting dressed in the dark (my roommate was still sleeping), I washed my face and headed for the kitchen in search of COFFEE.

I found that, and curled up in my chair at the table, which is hard to do in a rigid kitchen chair by the way, but I managed, and then my host sister came out to make breakfast.

We listened to Christmas music on the radio as she brought out a huge loaf of sweet bread and cut it into thick slices. Benilde, my host sister, told me that Christmas music starts playing on the radio in September. “After August is over, Christmas starts here.”

Anyways, this is what I had for breakfast this morning: Pan dulce (sweet bread) with home-made guava jam, made of just pureed guava fruit and sugar cooked over low heat (I know this because I was the one stirring it for nearly an hour as it thickened) and traditional white cheese.

Simple, but really delicious.

Now, off to school. I only have 6 more days of classes left…the time is flying!

I miss fruits and veggies like crazy.

Speaking of crazy, the fruits and veggies here seem to be confused. The avocados (I know I talk about them all the time…but if you held a 5 pound avocado, you’d be captivated too) are bigger than the eggplants.

And the coconuts.

Don’t believe me?

And the bananas and lemons and green! Come to think of it, even the oranges are green.

Everything is going to make sense again when I can cook with normally proportioned (and colored) produce.

Like Pandora for recipes…genius.

What are you craving?

Well, chocolate of course.

…and voilá!

Now…what do you have in the fridge?

Hm, some greek yogurt, perhaps?

I typed in “greek yogurt”, and this is the first recipe it came up with.

Roasted Feta with Thyme Honey? That uses greek yogurt? Yum!

I’ll definitely be using this when I get home…when I actually have my own food in the fridge, that is!

Dusky Caramel and Raspberry Crepe Cake?! Just another example of the beauty of Pinterest.

Inspire; to breathe

My 30th birthday is this month, Friends. This is exciting on many levels, but became more so when I was browsing Pinterest one day and stumbled on the prettiest dessert birthday cake I’ve ever seen. Ever. So much so that I’ve decided it will be the only photo topic today, just to make sure it gets due attention. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for a little piece of Dusky Caramel and Raspberry Crepe Cake inspiration!

all photos from Poires au Chocolate, recipe there as well *ahem*

I’m sitting back, sipping my coffee, & tasting this dreamy cake right now. In my head anyway. Well not the coffee part, I’m really doing that.

One funny thing about this cake is that it’s the only edible thing I’ve pinned on Pinterest. If you’re another Pinterest Person you know how rare and somewhat weird that is, because there are so many beautiful dishes…

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So I guess I’m stuck on avocados.

Today I made a Banana avocado smoothie.

I was inspired by the abundance of avocados and bananas that are sold in the little stores and outdoor markets around our neighborhood, and I usually have them around to eat with my breakfast or lunch. It was only today that I was brave enough to combine them.

This is a recipe that I stumbled across yesterday, and I knew I had to give it a try:


1 ripe avocado
1 frozen banana
sugar, according to desired sweetness
1 cup milk
3 ice cubes

1. Cut avocado in half then scrape the flesh using spoon and place in blender.
2. Add frozen banana, milk, sugar and blend until smooth.
3. Add ice cubes and blend some more until smooth.
4. transfer to glass/es and serve.

Easy right? I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I skipped the ice cubes and the sugar and added half milk and half liquid vanilla yogurt for some sweetness. Oh, and I only used the end of an avocado as opposed to a whole one seeing as how the avocados here are 5 times the size of any I’ve ever seen.

And it was absolutely delicious! Don’t believe me? Make one yourself. Easy, healthy, filling, and very very tasty 🙂

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